What senior council officers said about the idea of a waste amnesty in Swansea

A waste amnesty could create problems if people were told they couldn’t leave their rubbish there, a senior Swansea Council officer has said.

Head of waste management, Chris Howell, was not a fan of the amnesty proposal, which was raised again at a council policy development committee meeting.

Councillors backing the idea felt it would save on fly-tipping clear-up costs, and said an amnesty several years ago in Swansea had worked well.

Mr Howell said the previous amnesty occurred before the comprehensive kerbside recycling service of recent years was up and running.

Just under 63% of householders’ waste was recycled or composted in 2018-19. Recycling centres also take a variety of products, although no black bag waste is currently accepted.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, householders could take black bag waste to some recycling centres but they were challenged to demonstrate they didn’t contain recyclable material.

Mr Howell said this approach would be difficult with an amnesty out in the community.

“Potentially there would be a lot of animosity if people got refused access,” he said.

“It’s something that I would really not recommend.”

Cllr Mike White, who represents Landore, and Pontarddulais councillor Phil Downing, said the amnesty of several years ago had been a success.

Clr Downing recalled two men with a van, who were encouraging recycling and also explaining the effects of fly-tipping.

“It was certainly a big plus for my area,” he said.

A lot of fly-tippers, he said, hadn’t understood the impact of what they did on rivers.

There were 1,450 recorded fly-tipping incidents in Swansea in 2018-19, which cost just under £72,000 to clear up. Eleven fines were issued to offenders.

Llansamlet councillor Penny Matthews asked if consideration could be given to a free bulky waste collection trial from outside people’s houses.

Mr Howell said it used to be free for people with limited means, but that some people would put out 10 mattresses a year on behalf of friends.

Householders must pay £20 in advance these days for the collection of up to three bulky items.

Martin Nicholls, director of place, said he agreed with Mr Howell, adding that the free service had become a “loophole”.

However, he said he would relay the committee’s comments to the relevant cabinet member, Cllr Mark Thomas.

Mr Howell added: “What we could look at is to expand our recycling promotional activities to explain the dis-benefits of fly-tipping.

WalesOnline – Swansea